Creating a Memorable Character by Jeyran Main
John Yeoman has some very interesting opinions on creating that impression when it comes to building characters. The first question that may come to mind is, if your character may, in fact, need to be memorable? The answer is: No.
Not all characters need to be memorable. It all depends on the genre and how much of an impact you wish your character have on the reader. If the character is disposable then not much needs to be said about it, however, if you want to make your character colorful, then here are some tips to follow:
- Implement a Character Label. Create a memorable description of the role. A distinctive tattoo, a bald head, a notable chin can all be useful.
- Create a doppelganger. Generate a connection between the reader and the character by reminding them of a similar description. Remind them of their grandma, cousin, the best school friend, or a crazy neighbor.
- Apply the knock-on effect. Use a secondary character’s opinion to affect your readers mind on the particular character.
For example, your second character can say something nasty about the main character even though you initially have drawn him to be someone with good nature. Or, you can have your secondary character say something sweet towards the main characters. This instantly has the reader feel some sympathy towards the main character.
- Use the Nimbus Tactic. The character here is presented to the reader before they have even been introduced in the story. In this example, the author can describe the character by letting the reader know how awful they are, or how they have affected the person, how good, reliable or cheerful they are, to the acting character before they have even appeared.
- Employ the Habitus Technique. In this method, you use the atmosphere in order to influence the reader’s emotions towards the character. The environment can easily influence the reader by changing the readers perspective and feelings on the character.
There are many other methods used. However, I believe these are the best which I felt were worth mentioning. John Yeoman was a tutor in creative writing, and his success is worth mentioning since his methods have always been recognized to be the best.
Written by Jeyran Main
Dr. John Yeoman, Ph.D. Creative Writing, was a tutor in creative writing at a UK university. He was a successful commercial author for 42 years and was a regular, much-loved contributor to WTD. He died unexpectedly in 2016.